United Airlines introduced a variety of changes to MileagePlus which went into effect on 01 November. Changes are mostly negative with the award chart being devalued… something airlines seem to love doing. However, surprisingly, there were a few positive changes announced – one of which includes being able to book flights for 8k miles.
United Airlines loves making (negative) changes to their frequent flyer programme – they are mostly blindly following the world’s worst loyalty programme – Delta SkyMiles. Thankfully, United Airlines still hasn’t implemented some of the major changes which completely ruined SkyMiles (no award charts, variable pricing, unannounced changes… constantly, and many more).
With the new changes to United MileagePlus, you can now book some flights for 8k miles:
- Flight award must be outside of the region of the United States
- Flight award must be a single, nonstop flight; it cannot be a connecting flight
- Flight award must be “short-haul intra-region Economy Saver”
- Flight must be under 800 miles
United mostly considers the United States and Canada in the same region and therefore you cannot book short, nonstop flights within Canada on Air Canada for 8k miles – those continue to cost 12.5k miles (which is ridiculous for a flight like Vancouver to Victoria). In the contiguous United States, short-haul flights continue to cost 10k miles (for example: Washington to Newark).
The flight award must contain a nonstop flight to qualify for the 8k price; connections are not allowed. For example, you can book Kraków to Frankfurt nonstop for 8k United miles; you cannot book Kraków to Frankfurt via Munich for 8k miles because you are connecting in Munich (but you can book it for 15k miles – the normal price).
All of the short-haul, nonstop flights must be under 800 miles to qualify for the 8k price.
This is definitely a positive change and something I will use in the future. Last minute one-way flights around Europe on Star Alliance airlines can be expensive (especially on Lufthansa) and therefore paying just 8k miles for a flight that may cost EUR 400,- is a great deal. However, keep in mind that United Airlines charges a $75 USD fee when booking less than 21 days before departure (this fee is waived or lowered for MileagePlus Premier members).
Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!